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Why Bigger Cities Are Greener Citieshttp://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2012/04/why-bigger-cities-are-greener/863/The Economic Productivity of Urban Areas: Disentangling General Scale Effects from Local Exceptionabilityhttp://www.santafe.edu/media/workingpapers/11-09-046.pdfCentre for Advanced Spatial Analysishttp://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/casaSENSEable City Labhttp://senseable.mit.edu/IBM: Smarter Citieshttp://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smarter_cities/overview/index.htmlHow do cities work? Can we make them work more efficiently and economically? These queries have claimed the attention of many brilliant minds over the centuries. Increasingly, urban planners and researchers point to the use of "Big Data" as a means of exploring these questions. Today, many organizations (such as the United Nations) share their statistics freely, and scientists, planners, and others have used this information to create mobile apps and other information-age tools. One recent revelation from Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt of the Santa Fe Institute is quite noteworthy. Using a wide range of data, they found that cities scale up in a rather efficient fashion. They noted that when a city's size doubles, incomes, patents, savings, and other signs of wealth rise by around 15 percent. Correspondingly, the "bits of infrastructure" (such as the number of gas stations) decrease by about 15 percent per inhabitant. Other studies at places like the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London have looked into what Twitter messages reveal about a city's structure and economic activity. These are early days indeed, and it will be interesting to see what else the use of "Big Data" will tell us about urban form, structure, and process.The first link will take interested parties to a news story from last week's The Economist about the use of large data sets to reveal new patterns and processes going on in and around large urban areas. The second link will whisk users away to an intriguing piece from the The Atlantic Cities blog by Richard Florida about why bigger cities tend to be greener places. Moving along, the third link leads to the full text of the technical report previously mentioned by Geoffrey West, Luis Bettencourt, and their colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute. The fourth link will take visitors to the homepage of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Here visitors can learn about the Centre's research program, listen to podcasts, and take a look at academic works. The fifth link will take visitors to the homepage of the SENSEable City Lab at MIT, which features information about the Lab's research and upcoming events. The final link opens IBM's Smarter Lab website. Here visitors can learn about IBM's work on helping city agencies use data more effectively to streamline certain operations and functions of government.
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